I don’t think I have a whole lot to say, but I thought I would update my friends and family on the past month or so.
Well, the leaves are gone and the air is cold. Thanksgiving feels like it was a long time ago, even though it has only been about almost three weeks. Maybe a week before Thanksgiving there was a potluck at Dan’s work. I made brownies and Dan made sweet potato casserole. All of the food everyone brought was really good. One of the girls, Annie, had the movie Spirit playing for the kids, but it was most of the adults who were watching it. For the actual day, a bunch of us went over to Ryan’s house and had dinner and played games. That was a lot of fun. Nobody was able to drink alcohol though because a Marine in Okinawa was very drunk while driving and he hit another car and killed someone. It is really sad… For whatever reason, possibly stupidity, the Marines have caused a lot of trouble in Okinawa throughout the years, and it makes the Natives hate Americans. I know not all Marines are dumb, but it’s hard not to talk about them as a whole when they are the only ones who cause significant problems in Japan. I’m sure other military has caused problems in some way, but none to make the news. So for a while there was a drinking ban, then only dependents could drink but couldn’t buy alcohol on base, then they said everyone can drink, but only in their own homes (which, I feel, only promotes drinking alone), and now dependents can drink wherever but active duty can still only drink in their own homes. And the curfew went from 1am to 12am. The bases in Okinawa were on lock down, last I heard. I don’t know what’s happening now.
I feel badly that there are so many American military bases in Okinawa alone. American culture and Japanese culture are very different, and clearly not everyone respects the culture there. It’s sad, especially because a lot of people don’t want Americans there anymore. I don’t blame them. They do protests asking them to leave. I wish the Americans wouldn’t cause so much trouble, but that’s the culture, right? Obviously this isn’t true of everyone, but as a whole, America has an attitude of “who gives a shit, we do what we want, we’re awesome”. It’s unfortunate and I don’t like it. I’m happy to at least be in Misawa where the Japanese and Americans get along very well, and people are respectful of each other (for the most part). Actually, Misawa really thrives on the business that Americans bring to them. With the drinking ban though, different bars and restaurants have been struggling a little bit.
I started decorating around the house with lights and christmasy stuff immediately after Thanksgiving. I need lights and pretty things surrounding me. It makes me feel better about the cold. Speaking of the cold, we had a couple of nights where it snowed a lot and stuck, but it melted within a couple of days. Lately it has been flurrying, but nothing significant. I guess that’s just what it does until January or February. I wouldn’t know about December, since I got here at the very end of December, last year! I’ll probably do a little reflection post on the actual day.
I think I have been doing fairly well with the cold. I went snowboarding last week, hoping to find a winter activity to help me actually like the weather. I haven’t gone snowboarding since the first time I went, which was in fifth grade. I had a very bad experience…
Where I went to school, there were three separate elementary schools, and they all came together in middle school which started at fifth grade. I wanted to try snowboarding, so I went on a trip with the school on a Saturday. I still didn’t know too many people at the time, so I didn’t have any friends that went on the trip. I really only had two friends at the time anyway. I wasn’t a very popular kid… Come to think of it, middle school was a bit of a nightmare. You know, when you want to be part of the kids who peaked at that age and were popular, and you were just cringy… I also got made fun of a lot for various reasons. High school was so much better. That was when I stopped caring. Anyway, snowboarding. So I didn’t know anyone on the trip, but there was one girl who talked to me and she already knew how to snowboard, so she told me to tag along with her. It turns out that this ten or eleven year old girl was an avid snowboarder, and naive as we all were, took me on the Black Diamond as my very first run. For those of you who are not familiar with what the Black Diamond is, it is the most difficult hill at whatever place we were. She showed me how to get onto the lift, and that went pretty smoothly. I didn’t fall when we got off! I was definitely nervous on the lift though, because I am afraid of heights. We got off the lift and by my recollection, the girl said, “Ok you’re on your own! I’m the worst!” and she effortlessly went down. I did eventually make it down, and I didn’t need snow patrol to help me do it, but I am certain that I cried on the hill because I was cold, alone, and didn’t know what I was doing. I stayed up and went really fast, and fell when I got nervous. This happened over and over, and over, until I finally made it down. For the remainder of the trip I went on the lift by myself and went down the bunny hill a few times, then went into the lodge to warm up and have hot chocolate. That girl and I were never friends.
Although I had this somewhat traumatic experience, 15 years later I decided to give it another try. Outdoor Rec on base rents out skis and snowboards with the boots and you can also rent snow pants and jackets. It is all really cheap too. We went to a place called APPI which was an hour and 45 minutes away. The drive was really nice because it had just snowed the night before, so the trees were covered. It looked like a christmas card, it was so perfect. I was with Ryan, who had never snowboarded before, so that made me feel better. Plus our friend Nick said he would show us how to do it. He did show us a little bit, but he ditched our asses and went with people who knew what they were doing. Deja vu?! I didn’t cry this time though. I kind of learned how to go slow by basically snowboarding horizontally down the hill. There were times where I was vertical and went too fast though, so I would panic and try to slow down, and then crash and burn. I imagine there being a small explosion every time I fell. It took about 30 minutes to get down the first time. I kept falling and struggled to get back up each time. Every now and then when I fell, I would sit there for a little bit and contemplate my life’s decisions. At one point, mid contemplation, Ryan asked me if I was alright and my response was, “I’m really bad at this” and he said, “It’s hard!” and that made me feel better.
There was a man who set up his camera to the side, I guess to take a video of himself going down, and I fell right in front of it. I looked at the camera and used my upper body to drag my legs attached to the board, desperately trying to get out of frame. It was so pathetic, but hilarious in hind sight. I hope he got a good laugh upon seeing the video, because I had a good laugh simply telling my friends about it.
The next couple of times, I really felt like I was getting the hang of it, but I fell often, and a lot of the time the falls were brutal. My legs occasionally did a windmill sort of thing and I flipped around. The board would also sometimes get stuck when I was horizontal, and I stopped short and hit the ground face forward. One time I hit the ground so hard with my head. That really hurt. I had to lay down for a little bit until the little birdies stopped flying around my head (I’m exaggerating). I then got back up and kept going. I went down a few more times, but my head was really hurting me, so I decided to stop. Luckily the lifts were closing at that time, so we got ready to leave. It turns out that I had a very mild concussion. I’m fine though. Thank god I had a helmet!
Everything hurt. My wrists from trying to catch my fall, my neck from whiplash, my legs, and my head. I got a hot stone massage a couple of days later at a Taiwanese place. I had never gotten a real massage before. It was pretty spectacular. It wasn’t as calming and serene as the setting called for though, because a guy came in and he wouldn’t stop talking to his masseuse. Geez Louise, guy. I didn’t see him but I knew he was very tall because he kept commenting on how long his legs were. He was also flirting with the woman. Weird.
Since Dan has been on nights, I have been going to bed really late and waking up late in the day. The sun begins to set at 3pm, so if I get up at 12 or 1, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of daylight for me. And when there’s no daylight, I automatically don’t want to do anything. I’ve been having a hard time leaving the house actually. I’ve been eating pretty unhealthily and I haven’t been doing a whole with my time, so I haven’t been feeling all that great about myself. But last night I decided to go to sleep earlier, and Kumo woke me up at 7 and I’ve been up since then doing productive things! I feel better today because of that.
Our neighbor Sana is taking in three Alaskan Husky x Pointer pups tomorrow for people to adopt. There is a breeder who keeps having his dog have puppies, and if they aren’t the color he likes, he gives them away to a shelter. It’s sad. For both the mother and the puppies. Especially because the mother is only like 1 or 2. People can be awful. Sana is keeping one of the puppies and we are going to take one for a couple of weeks to see how Kumo does with him and to see if we can handle another dog. I think Kumo is ready to have a brother, but I don’t think Dan does. So I guess we’ll see how it goes once the puppy is here. They are only 9 weeks old. There were four, but somebody already adopted one– hooray! The shelter decided not to bring the pups to an adoption fair because people go crazy for huskies and they don’t want just anyone taking the dogs. I think that’s a good idea. There are so many people who just get dogs because they think they’re cute. Then when they realize that they don’t want to put the work into it, they either treat them poorly, give them back, or rehome them.
I’m super excited for the puppy to come and for Kumo to have a little brother! I’ll update on how that goes and what we decide to do.
This Friday is Dan’s work’s christmas party. It’s at a jazz club. Fancy.
Til next time. Thanks for reading.
Oh! I almost forgot… We got Kumo a BarkBox! I taped it. It isn’t great, but I know people like to see Kumo 🙂